(from human rights first)
Remember when only villains on TV tortured?
Today, American heroes on TV dramas like “24” and “Lost”
routinely use torture to save the day.
These shows are intended as entertainment. But their impact is
anything but fictional: Junior soldiers have imitated the
interrogation techniques they have seen on television – on the
notion that they work.

In addition, these shows – and the increase in torture scenes –
reinforce the idea that torture is necessary in certain
situations. This goes against the guidance of those who have
actually performed interrogations.
Human Rights First has launched the Primetime Torture project to
address the negative impact of the portrayal of torture on TV.
To learn more about this project, visit
http://action.humanrightsfirst.org/ct/r12XHqn1YQXf/ or read
the recent Associated Press article:
Hollywood writers, of course, do not set U.S. policy. At the
heart of this problem is the Bush administration’s flawed
interrogation policy – and here’s where you can help. The
administration maintains that the CIA can operate a secret
detention program with a secret “alternative set of procedures”
not authorized by Congress. But military investigators found
that CIA abusive interrogation practices infected military
interrogations, leading to more and more abuse. We need all U.S.
personnel to comply with the same standard of humane treatment.
Click here to urge your members of Congress to demand hearings
on torture – to make sure government personnel from every agency
respect the ban on torture: http://action.humanrightsfirst.org/campaign/etn_primetime/i7db8w64l5d3jtk?
We need to act now! Until it is clear that no U.S. official can
engage in any form of torture or other cruel treatment, these
forms of official cruelty may still occur – in America’s name.
We need a public investigation into the enforcement of
anti-torture laws, specifically through congressional hearings
in the Intelligence, Judiciary and Armed Services committees.
As recently as last September, the President said the CIA may
interrogate detainees in secret prisons with an “alternative set
of procedures.” In the past, such techniques have included
simulated drowning, sleep deprivation, and exposure to severe
cold temperatures. These are illegal.
The glaring need for clarity from the top down is reinforced by
the fact that interrogators in the field are literally copying
torture techniques they see on TV. Said Tony Lagouranis, an
interrogator who was stationed in Iraq: “We had no official
doctrine about what to do, so people were watching movies and
watching TV and they were getting their ideas from that.”
We are working with prominent military leaders, former
interrogators and Hollywood figures to address this issue, but
we need your help to strike at the root of the problem. By
holding hearings, Congress can make sure torture never again
happens in America’s name.
Ask your Senators and Representative to make sure Congress holds
much-needed hearings on the Bush administration’s interrogation
policies. Please click here: http://action.humanrightsfirst.org/campaign/etn_primetime/i7db8w64l5d3jtk?.
To learn more about torture on TV, its effect on soldiers, and
what Human Rights First is doing, please visit
http://action.humanrightsfirst.org/ct/r12XHqn1YQXf/. At the
site, you can sign up for a free copy of our Primetime Torture
film, expected to be completed in the spring.
As always, thank you for standing with Human Rights First as we
work – from Capitol Hill to Hollywood – to end torture once and
for all.
Jill Savitt
Human Rights First
Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.